WICKED FOX by KAT CHO
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
I’m going to start this review off by saying I’m biased. I’m really, really biased. If you don’t already know this about me, you should know that I’m a huge fan of the current Hallyu wave that’s going on in pop culture right now. The Hallyu Wave–or just Hallyu if you’re feeling succinct–refers to movies, music, television shows, etc. made in Korea. K-pop, K-dramas, and K-beauty all fall under the Hallyu umbrella. I just so happen to be a huge fan of all of these things. That said, the Hallyu Wave has started to breach YA fiction as well. Enter Wicked Fox by Kat Cho, a contemporary fantasy novel that updates Korean mythology for the modern age.
I liked it. A lot.
Now that you know how biased I am, it shouldn’t come as any surprise to you, dear reader, that I liked this book. I could have loved it if a few things were changed, but let me tell you why I liked it first. Wicked Fox follows our nineteen-year-old protagonists, Miyoung and Jihoon. Miyoung is something known in Korean mythology as a gumiho, or a nine tailed fox. She sucks the energy out of people to survive and comes equipped with super strength, speed, and senses. Jihoon, on the other hand, is a normal high schooler just looking to slack off while he stumbles through life. The two meet one night after Jihoon is attacked by a dokkaebi–the Korean term for a goblin. Miyoung saves him, losing her fox bead, which is essentially her soul, in the process. Drama ensues from there.
I liked Wicked Fox mainly for Miyoung herself. She’s stubborn and broody and likes to be left alone, traits I strongly identify with. Her worry over becoming a monster shadows her every move, especially after Jihoon befriends her. Speaking of Jihoon, I liked him, too. He starts the book off as a fun-loving slacker who does nothing but play video games and hang out with his friends. He was always nice to Miyoung despite her thinking she’s a monster. One quibble I had with the two of them, however, stems from their romance. They were a convincing pair of friends, but halfway through the book, Jihoon tells Miyoung that he loves her. That scene gave me whiplash and I didn’t find it very convincing. The book didn’t give us enough time to accept Miyoung and Jihoon as a romantic couple.
I also found it difficult to follow some of the situations that were happening in the book. Plot points happened off-page or were explained in a paragraph or two. It felt as though much of the action was glossed over for things that didn’t matter as much, i.e. the out-of-place romance between Miyoung and Jihoon.
Anyway, back to the things I liked. The setting! Wicked Fox is set in Seoul, South Korea and all this book did was make me want to go there even more than I already do. The mixture of the mythology and the setting really gave me the refreshing feeling that I was reading something different, new, and fun. Cho’s writing style was easy to follow and I found myself wanting to turn the pages no matter what.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, you can check out our copy of Wicked Fox at the Oreana Library today!